The City of Cockburn has moved to remind local pool and spa owners that it is their legal obligation to ensure that barriers are compliant, in order to prevent accidental drownings on private property.
Daniel Arndt, Director Planning & Development Services said under the Building Act 2011, council swimming pool inspectors had the right to enter private property, at any reasonable time, to carry out an inspection to determine compliance of swimming pool barriers.
“The City has respected the rights of property owners in ensuring they are either present or have granted permission for pool inspectors to enter a property,” Mr Arndt said.
“Given the high numbers of properties where access to swimming pools has not been able to be achieved, the City may need to consider legal action to enable that to occur.
“The City appeals for the support of all swimming pool owners to assist the inspection process by contacting the swimming pool inspector to make an agreed inspection appointment.”
The appeal follows the release of the Building Commissioner’s progress report into Local Government’s four year inspections of private swimming pool safety barriers 2017/18.
The report lists the City as the WA local government with the most overdue swimming pool safety barrier inspections for 2017/18, with 1,463 overdue inspections.
As of September 18, that number has reduced to 1,396.
Mr Arndt said local pool and spa owners needed to realise that in 2016/17 there were two drowning deaths and 16 non-fatal drownings in private swimming pools in Western Australia, the majority of which were toddlers 0-4 years (source: Western Australian Drowning Report 2016-17 – Royal Life Saving Western Australia).
He said the majority of drowning deaths occurred at the toddler’s place of residence, followed by at a relative or neighbour’s home. (source: A 10 year analysis of drowning in toddlers aged 0-4 years in Western Australia 2003/04 to 2012/13 - Royal Life Saving Western Australia/Department of Health (WA)).
“Swimming pool owners need to work together cooperatively with the City’s pool inspectors to ensure that the youngest members of our community are protected,” Mr Arndt said.
“Our swimming pool inspectors undertake ongoing inspections every working day with the aim of ensuring the 7,250 pool and spas in the City are inspected in accordance with legislative requirements.
“As of 17 September, the City has attended every property with a registered pool or spa within the four year inspection cycle as required.
“Our inspectors carry out a comprehensive inspection of the pool barriers, with a view to supporting and directing swimming pool owners in meeting their obligation to comply with the statutory requirements.
“When inspectors attend a property they leave a site inspection report or email for the owner if they cannot gain access; this is noted on the site report and the pool owner is requested to contact them to arrange a further inspection.
“If the owner doesn’t respond the inspectors will continue to follow up with the owners until a suitable time can be made.
“The City is now focusing on those properties where the pool inspectors have attended site in accordance with legislative requirements (within 4 years) and could not gain access.
“The effect of this approach can be seen by the recent 4.6% drop in the total number of overdue inspections.”
For more information about swimming pool inspections visit the City's website
For more infortmation, read the Building Commissioner’s report
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